Wayan Vota: Send cash, not tractors

Translate Page

United Methodist Communications will host the Game Changers Summit Sept. 3-5, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. The conference will demonstrate how information and communications technology (ICT) can be used to improve all facets of life. The focus? Helping parts of the world left behind by the technological revolution, to solve problems in education, wellness and community development with cutting-edge communications tools. This article series will spotlight some of the speakers and panelists participating in the Game Changers Summit.

Wayan Vota feels that if you want to help advance technology in developing countries, the last thing you should do is donate your used computer.

Wait – what???

Donating computers “sounds nice until you realize that a donated computer is an albatross in a lot of communities. They’re expensive to operate regularly because of the cost of electricity and the lack of local support to maintain the systems,” says Vota, co-founder of Kurante, a consulting firm helping organizations use technology to improve development outcomes.  

Vota likens the practice of donating computers to a program once devised by a world relief agency to provide African farmers with tractors.

“Six months later there are rusting tractors in fields across Africa. Why? The farmers had no experience with tractors, there were no trained tractor repairmen in the area … and very few petrol stations in the area,” Vota says.

“You have to be very clear if you’re in the mindset to give something. The test should be would you rather have the item or the cash instead?” In the case of the African farmers, cash to buy an ox was more useful than being given a tractor.

Though he encourages proper applications when engaging in technology for development, Vota finds technology as vital as food and shelter in helping communities develop long term.

“The first thing that happens in any major disaster or event is people want to call home,” he says. “Have a disaster in the U.S. and don’t let anyone use their cell phones — you’d have mass protests and fights breaking out. We expect to be able to communicate instantly; why would we expect any less in any other country?”

Vota is one of a panel of speakers at the upcoming Game Changers Summit, and he’s excited to be among peers.

“It’s going to be one of the highlights of my year, and I’m in this field! For someone who is looking at how to do development better, or how to utilize tech for development, this is an opportunity for them to connect with the brightest minds in the field.” 

*Butler is a multimedia editor/producer for United Methodist Communications.

Be a game changer! Register for the Game Changers Summit, Sept. 3-5, 2014.


Like what you're reading? Support the ministry of UM News! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community. Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

UMNEWS-SUBSCRIPTION
Human Sexuality
Supporters of LGBTQ rights in The United Methodist Church rally around the central Communion table at the close of the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. An updated edition of “American Methodism,” a history of the denomination published by Abingdon Press, adds a chapter covering 20 years of contentious debate over sexuality. File photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

Eventful 20 years added to Methodist history

Abingdon Press has published a revised edition of “American Methodism,” its history of The United Methodist Church and its predecessors. The new version adds a chapter covering 20 years of contentious debate over sexuality.
Annual Conferences
Conference members ratified disaffiliation agreements and prayed over departing churches during the 2022 North Georgia Annual Conference that took place June 2-4. In an email sent out Dec. 28, 2022, North Georgia Conference leaders announced they were pausing for now approving anymore disaffiliations. File photo courtesy of the North Georgia Conference.

North Georgia hits pause on disaffiliations

The largest United Methodist conference in the U.S. announced it is blocking church exits as a result of “the misleading, defamatory, and false statements and materials shared with local church members.”
Judicial Council
The Book of Discipline contains the rules that guide The United Methodist Church. The Judicial Council — the denomination’s top court — faces multiple questions related to how to interpret Disciplinary provisions about General Conference. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

Church court deals with General Conference delay

Three United Methodist annual conferences, including one in Africa, have asked the denomination’s highest court to rule on the ramifications of General Conference’s third postponement since the onset of COVID. The Judicial Council also faces more questions about church disaffiliations.